At some point, maybe people reading this will understand that this article has nothing to do with the stand alone GameSpy executable. But I'm not going to hold my breath.
I know the feeling. Just to set this straight once and for all(so that we end this confusion), there are two
parts to "GameSpy", the frontend, and the backend.Frontend
: Here is where programs like The All-Seeing Eye*, GameSpy3D, Game Ranger, and similar server browsing programs sit. They talk to the backend
to get a list of servers, and then do the necessary pinging and information requests.
also sits here, though in a different way. The SDK allows game developers to build a server browser straight in to their game, and gives them the access they need(in terms of both literal code, and licensing rights with the GameSpy Corporation) to tell the backend
about new servers, do CD-key checks, etc.Backend
: This is where the GameSpy Master Server Network sits. This portion, run by the GameSpy Corporation, is a cluster of servers that keep track of games so that server browsers in the frontend
can find out what's going on. This cluster not only keeps a list of servers and responds to queries, but automatically yanks down expired servers, keeps servers sorted by gametype and other meta-information(as necessary and requested by a game's developer), and does CD-key checks if a game developer decides to use that feature.
The confusion here is that everyone keeps talking about switching out portions of the frontend
, as if using a different server browser will change things. As the GameSpy system is a private system, only licensed games using the GameSpy SDK may submit changes to the backend
, and since there is(and always will be) only 1 licensed GameSpy SDK, there does not exist a work-around that allows someone to submit modifications without paying their license to the GameSpy Corporation.
Now, it is true that using 3rd party frontend
tools, you can still query the backend
to find out about games, but the GameSpy Corporation only allows this because the developer of the game you want to play has paid their license to the GameSpy Corporation, so there is no difference if a gamer uses the in-game browser or a 3rd party browser. If a Mac game developer did not pay for their license however(restricting them from having an in-game browser or submitting changes to the backend
), the GameSpy Corporation would sue the developer, as the players of this game would be putting an additional load on the backend
, without GameSpy being compensated for it. Hence the only way a Mac gamer can legally play with a PC gamer out of the box is if a developer pays for a GameSpy license.
And since the GameSpy Corporation now wants what amounts to too much money for a Mac license, Mac developers can no longer use the same backend
the PC version of the game uses, which leads us to the problem at hand. Unless the GameSpy Corporation brings its fees back down, Macs and PCs will effectively be unable to play together.
* The All Seeing Eye technically has their own backend
system, but we do not consider it, as it is not used to a similar degree the GameSpy system isThis comment was edited on Dec 9, 16:43.